By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
For the first time since June’s Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston Bruins meet the St. Louis Blues and above all else, on home ice in the TD Garden. The Bruins won their last game over the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-2 the final score, and will look to build on that tonight. This is the first game of a back-to-back that sees Boston play the Rangers tomorrow.
Looking at St. Louis, they are victorious in each of their last two games including a big 5-2 over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. The Blues are third in the Central Division with a record of 5-2-3. St. Louis Head Coach Craig Berube stated how tonight’s game will be an emotional one for both clubs considering the war they endured on one another in the seven-game series last season.
Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Home: Boston Bruins (6-1-2)
Away: St. Louis Blues (5-2-3)
Bruins Last Game: 4-2 win vs TOR
Bruins Gameday Lineup:
Bruins forward David Krejci will miss his fourth-straight game with an upper-body injury, but Head Coach Bruce Cassidy says “Tuesday looks good for him” regarding a return. Forward Joakim Nordstrom will make his return to the lineup while David Backes and Steven Kampfer are healthy scratches.
The big question was how emotional was this game going to be. Well, less than a minute into the game we get our answer. Zdeno Chara absolutely levels Brayden Schenn on a St. Louis breakout attempt and the two engage in a wrestling match – resulting in offsetting minors – 4-on-4.
At 13:57 of the first period, we finally get a whistle after five consecutive minutes without a stoppage in play. Not too many shots from either team within the back-and-forth action, but great pace nonetheless. Bruins have landed some hard hits in the game as well. After the whistle though, Krug and Perron re-ignite their rivalry and both head to the box for roughing – back to 4-on-4.
On the 4-on-4, the Blues get the first good chance for a goal in the game when Oskar Sundqvist gets in on a breakaway off of a McAvoy turnover but Rask holds his ground and makes a great save to keep it tied. Prior to that, he wasn’t challenged at all.
With 5:52 to go in the opening frame, Charlie Coyle brings the puck hard into the zone and in the process, draws a holding penalty on David Perron. The penalty is the fourth minor that Coyle has drawn on the season, most on the Bruins according to Matt Porter. Bruins to the power-play. Not long into the man-advantage, the lethal Bruins power-play strikes. David Pastrnak gets a beautiful feed from Krug for a blistering one-timer – 1-0 Bruins.
Right after the goal, the Bruins take a penalty of their own. Sean Kuraly is caught cross-checking and the Blues get their first power-play of the night. Fortunately, the penalty-killing unit was great, especially Par Lindholm who has been a solid depth utility player for Boston – back to even-strength.
Not done yet as Sundqvist is whistled down for a tripping minor with 1:48 left to tick away in the first. Boston to their second power-play of the game. The B’s get a few chances but ultimately do not score. They will have twelve seconds of time on the man-advantage to begin the second.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 10 STL: 9
Score: 1-0 Bruins – Goals: Pastrnak (11) PPG Assists: Krug (7), Marchand (10)
The Bruins could not score on the very short power-play but they are showing off good zone rushes and they are doing pretty good defensively as well. Five minutes into the period, they’re the better team in this game without a doubt.
The best chance of the period so far came from the Bruins just around six minutes into the frame. Anders Bjork did a good job on the forecheck to allow a pinching Matt Grzelcyk to rifle a shot that rings the bar. Close chance.
Those two managed to come together later in the period. With 10:29 left in the middle regulation period, Matt Grzelcyk brings the puck in the zone and feeds it to Anders Bjork who bombs a shot past Binnington for his first goal of the season – 2-0 Bruins.
On the very next shift, Torey Krug gets caught on a minor penalty, allowing the Blues to get a chance to tie the game on the power-play. Not the best penalty-kill, but thanks to Tuukka Rask – the Bruins successfully kill of the Krug penalty and we go back to 5-on-5.
St. Louis is showing frustration and it may be working in the favor of the Bruins. Oskar Sundqvist takes a boarding penalty after a hard hit on McAvoy, giving the dangerous Boston power-play another chance to score. Patrice Bergeron nearly buries one but Binnington makes a tremendous cross-crease blocker save to keep it a 2-0 game. Penalty ends.
The Bruins did a good job for the rest of the period, however, took an interference penalty with less than a minute left in the period and will have to kill off over sixty minutes of Grzelcyk’s penalty to start the third.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 19 STL: 16
Score: 2-0 Bruins – Goals: Bjork (1) Assists: Grzelcyk (2), Heinen (1)
The B’s kill of the shortened penalty and the game returns to 5-on-5 with 18:38 remaining in the final regulation period of play. Bruins hold a 2-0 lead.
The line of Bjork, Lindholm, and Heinen has had a good game tonight – getting the puck and winning battles along the boards. The line ended up drawing a hooking call against the Blues, giving the Bruins a chance to make it a three-goal game. Unfortunately for the B’s, they were unable to capitalize and we go right back to even-strength.
With 11:38 to go, the 12th penalty of the entire game is called, this time against Torey Krug and the Boston Bruins – two minutes for holding. Another big penalty-kill for Boston as a goal for St. Louis here can give them momentum in the final half of the third.
As the game comes to a close, the Bruins’ strategy clearly changed to defending the two-goal lead and the Blues tried their hardest to bury one with the zone time they earned. Chris Wagner blocked a bomb off his left leg, hobbled to the dressing room, only to return a few minutes later. Not long afterwards, Charlie McAvoy makes a massive block on a play that was surely going to make it a 2-1 game – great work.
In the final few minutes, Boston starts to muster chances of their own. Bergeron gets a close shot on Binnington who makes the pad stop – the first shot on goal for the B’s in over 12 minutes of playing time.
With just over two minutes left to expire on the scoreboard, the Blues pull Binnington from the net, giving them a 6-on-5 advantage to attempt two goals in as many minutes. In the final minute, Brandon Carlo buries it, snapping a 14-game regular-season goalless drought. Bruins take a 3-0 lead.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 24 STL: 26
Final Score: 3-0 Bruins
Max’s Three Stars:
1st Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 25 Saves, 47th Career Shutout
2nd Star: BOS F David Pastrnak – 1 Goal (GWG), 3 Shots, 17:33 TOI
3rd Star: BOS F Brad Marchand – 1 Assist, 2 Shots, 21:30 TOI
With the win, the Bruins now improve to 7-1-2 on the season. The team will now make the trip from Boston to New York for a 7:00pm EST game against the New York Rangers tomorrow night. It is the first back-to-back series of the 2019-20 campaign for Boston and they’ll be looking to grab four-of-four points.